By Bassey Udo
The perennial crisis in the supply of petroleum products in the country would be a thing of the past if Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) are allowed to buy fuel at the regulated depot price from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL), the Ejigbo Satellite Depot of the association has said.
Although the approved ex-depot price at all NNPC depots was N148.17 per litre, the independent marketers said only members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) were allowed to buy at that price.
The Chairman of IPMAN Ejigbo Depot, Akin Akinrinade, who said members of the association have had to resort to sourcing petroleum products from secondary sources, urged the NNPC to give them the same window as their MOMAN counterparts to buy fuel at regulated depot price.
Akinrinade who made the appeal in Lagos on Wednesday while addressing reporters on the petrol price disparity being sold to IPMAN members by depot owners wondered why private depots that get petrol from NNPCL at official rate of N148.17 per litre were allowed to sell at N220 per liter ex-depot price to IPMAN.
He, however, issued seven days ultimatum to NNPCL to work out a concrete arrangement for IPMAN to allow its members to buy fuel at the regulated price of N148.17 per litre.
lPMAN, he said, despite an agreement with NNPCL, the company refused to adhere to the agreement on fuel supply.
“We have noticed the price disparity at which NNPC is selling petrol to major marketers at regulated price, while the private depots are selling to the independent marketers at N220 per litre.
“Major marketers are selling at the rate of N170 per litre in their stations and retail outlets at N169 at their stations.
“The private depots are selling ex-depot price at N220 per litre to IPMAN, which means that after paying N220 per litre, we still have to add other costs like transportation, logistics, among other costs.”
The chairman said this disparity if ex-depot prices has led to an increase in the price of petrol at IPMAN stations, adding that its members have no option than to sell at N250 per litre and above to stay in business.
“We are no longer comfortable with this, because Nigerians now see IPMAN as the black sheep. So, we want Nigerians to know that it is not of our making and that the authorities should address the issues around the price disparity”, he said.
Akinrinade said that members of IPMAN found themselves in such a situation due to the moribund NNPCL depots that were neglected.
“We loaded here last at the satellite depot in Lagos since December 2021, but, throughout 2022, we have not loaded a drop of products here.
”Ordinarily, the NNPC is supposed to make an arrangement for us to load through the private depots, but they have abandoned that arrangement.
“That is why we have no choice than to buy from the private depot owners who use us to make money. I wonder why they are now selling to us at N220 per litre,” he said.
”Petrol is regulated and held in trust for Nigerian. Why are private depots owners allowed to engage in profiteering? We are all commission agents in the petroleum business as long as the product supply is being subsidised.
“We are using this medium again to call on the NNPC to make arrangements for IPMAN through the private depots such that we can load in those depots as we used to, paying the government the regulated price.
“Before now, we used to buy at the rate of N148 and with that, we can sell at N170 but it is no longer so because the private depots are selling to us at the rate of N220 per litre ex-depot price,” he said.
Akinrinade said that IPMAN was simply asking for fair competition, adding that the competition was no longer fair.
He said that lPMAN members were losing customers, because they could no longer buy at the price of N250 and above.
“In the interim, NNPC should make arrangements for IPMAN to load through the private depot. That is what they are doing for NNPC retail, and we should be treated equally.
“If the government can no longer subsidize the product, then let them deregulate the industry so that we operate on a level playing field.
“We can no longer put this pain on Nigerians. So we are saying enough is enough and the arrangement should be made for things to go back to status quo or we will react,” he said. (NAN)
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